I have been noticing a small spot of color in the ‘wrong’ place in sashes, and have finally put two and two together to see a rather elegant solution to a common problem:
The arrow and lightning pattern requires the weaver to count and regularly change the weft across the face of the sash. A common error is a mis-counting, or just plain forgetting to change the weft.
Here I notice I’ve woven too far. I am wanting to have a green thread to switch with the pale colored thread. The red should have been switched away 12 threads back. I could un-weave these last 12 threads … or …
Change of weft, red for pale, and then bring that red thread back to where it belongs.
The red and green threads have traded places, and you may now resume weaving as if nothing has happened.
You now have a green thread for the change of weft with the pale thread. Carry on weaving normally.
Note that you will have to be vigilant on the very next row:
Make sure that the red thread is back in place for the next row. It may have drifted back toward the green thread that replaced it.
The only telltale of this misadventure will be a tiny red ‘blip’ seen in between the green and pale lightnings, and very slight extra thickness where three threads passed as weft instead of only one.
If this red blip bothers you, then repeat it two more times. According to accepted theory, when something happens three times in a row, then it’s a design element. Tell people you did it on purpose … make it into a signature.
So, I finished up my travels, and am wanting to share with you some of the insights gained.
Examining sashes closely, human error is in evidence. What I am wanting to disseminate is a sense of hope: very skilled weavers of the past have done this before me. Because errors are in evidence in museum sashes, and indeed rather clever corrective measures were taken to get the pattern back on track, why should I hold myself up to a standard higher than ‘museum quality’?
A very common error is in evidence when the center of the arrow wanders off to one side. This is not always the sign of a real problem.
This weaver worked on one side of the sash forgetting to turn the work over. One side of the arrow grew ahead of the other. Note the start of a new row of lightnings on the right and not on the left. This is not really a problem. The weaver must only turn the work over and work on the shorter side for a few rows to bring things back into order.
A more serious problem is afoot when the lightnings on both sides of the arrow attest that the weaver has indeed been working both sides equally.
In this image the center has wandered to the right, but the lightnings on both sides of the arrow are at the same stage of development, two rows left to go before ‘adventure disappears’.
Many weavers have experienced this would-be-disaster. Often as not it has been building up over many rows, even over several pattern repeats. No, you do not have to rip back 30 rows to make this right. Here’s a simple solution, seen in many an historic sash:
The next time you are ready to start a new patternrepeat, count the threads in the central arrow. Find the very center by counting. Start your weaving by selecting your weft here. Count threads at the center for the next few rows to be sure of your choice of weft until you’ve re-established your center.
Say to yourself, “I am human. To err is human, to forgive myself is divine.”